COLUMBIA - The Red Cross has a shortage of blood donations this year due to winter weather and the flu.
Winter storms and the spread of the flu this January have prevented some people from getting to community drives to donate and volunteer. The Red Cross has had to cancel 1,500 drives across the United States which has caused a blood shortage of about 50,000 units. The shortage for the Missouri region is currently about 1,000 units.
Craig Jackson of the Red Cross said this shortage is the about the equivalent of the Red Cross shutting down for three days.
The weather and flu have made it hard for citizens to travel to any open drives or even to the donor center.
"We collect about 20 percent of the blood we receive from high school and college kids, when school is out we obviously lose blood drives and then it's just hard for people to get out even for our community drives," said Jackson.
The Missouri-Illinois Red Cross will be holding a blood drive at the VA hospital Friday, but Jackson said the best way to find a drive is on their website redcrossblood.org. Type in your zip code to find the nearest mobile drive.